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Questions and answers to give you a REAL idea of what to expect in beekeeping.

Want to know more? Join the beekeeping course!


Q: We want to start up and need equipment or hives. Do you sell any?

A: Yes. Visit our farm to buy and web page for product viewing.

Q: When is the best time to buy a Nuc colony?

A: Spring time(the start of the season) and yes we do offer this. Read more 

Q: What qualification do you need to start?

A: Surely no degrees needed, but a basic one day course will clear up MANY misconceptions!! You will also need a VERY high level of determination to do it for a living. (theft will occupy your mind and be your wonderful daily companion)

Q: Do you offer beekeeping courses?

A: Yes, we do offer a basic one day course from our farm. Read more

Q: Is it difficult to start?

A: Yes, if it is for a living /  but No, if you want to start as a hobbyist.

Q: Does it cost much to start?

A: No, if you start as a hobbyist.

Q: Should I quit my job and start beekeeping for a living?

A: NO, please please no! Grow into it from a hobbyist until you feel you know enough and have reserves.

Q: Honey production or pollination - what should I do?

A: Everyone starts out by keeping a hive to produce honey... after a few years of getting to know the bees some might slowly move into pollinating crops. This will bring about a big reduction in total honey yields, but the beekeeper does get paid a fee for the pollination from the grower (pollinating crops do not normally produce yields worth harvesting, hence the payment from the grower). Also take into consideration that every area is different, some beekeepers lean more towards honey and some to pollination. Every year could be different also. At the end it will be what suits you and your style of beekeeping.

Q: How do you know what style of beekeeping you should invest in?

A: Very difficult question. Everyone needs to work out what works best for them. This can take easily 10 years before you have your personalized style of operation that works best for you.

Q: Do pesticides have an effect on the bees?

A: YES!! and many other factors. Read more

Q: How much honey does a hive produce per year?

A: Under normal South African conditions, anything from 0 - 20kg per year (please make sure you see the zero number also).


Q: How much honey do commercial beekeepers produce per year?

A: For the commercial beekeeper in the Western and Eastern Cape (Capensis bee species), a yearly hive average that includes your dead/diseased hives which were part of your operation, is between 5 and 12kg of honey per year (stationery). If you move hives around to follow nectar expect a little more, at an expense of night time, labour and diesel.

Yearly average could be slightly higher for the northern/KZN operations with the Scutellata bee species (Scutellata is more productive, better weather conditions, more crops, etc ).

Q: How does theft and disease affect the industry?

A: Expect losses between 5 and 15% due to theft/vandalism (each season). Disease is not such a major concern as it is overseas, but we can say  about 2-10%. These figures do differ depending on the area of operations. A year (season) could easily ramp up to 20% in total asset losses (no cow, no milk concept).

Q: Is there a future for beekeeping?

A: Yes, but circumstances in most parts of South Africa are not ideal and make it difficult for the full time beekeeper.

Q: As a full-time beekeeper is there something you can tell me relating to how viable this is?

A: Let me be very brief and you do the thinking. For every 10 tons of honey/income, you need to factor in 7.5 tons worth of input costs. We have never had a season with higher than 25% profit margin, total expenses vs total income (even 20% is a rare occasion).

Q: What do commercial beekeepers get paid for their honey?

A: Between 1/4 and 1/3 of the price you see on the shelves (depending on what type of shop you visit).

Q: I am a beekeeper, how do I sell my produce?

A: Either in bulk to other beekeepers/bottlers OR get in your car and go and search for places that would be interested in your products. But... make sure you do not make empty promises, be realistic in what you can produce and don't cut out fellow beekeepers with clever promises/deals to the client. Be patient, it takes years to build trust among consumers!


Q: Why is it that beekeepers sometimes seem very self sufficient and innovative?

A: The industry that we find ourselves in is not as well supported as it is in other countries. We are forced to make our own plans etc. and the cost of importing machines etc. for the medium to large beekeeper is very high, mostly due to Rand value.

Q: How many beehives can you keep on one property and how do I find places?

A: It all depends on the location and season, and it can take many years to establish what is viable for a specific area. Go and search for places by driving around and humbly ask landowners for a place to put your hive/s. If there is already a beekeeper on the property, the general industry agreement is one beekeeper per property/landowner. 

We have heard beekeepers say "stay out, this is my area/valley/etc". Doing beekeeping for a living does not have boundaries and if it did, no one would survive. If you lose interest in beekeeping, don't just abandon the place and even leave the place in a mess, that the landowner never wants  to see a beekeeper again. Contacting a fellow beekeeper that can take over the hives or location is a very responsible way of keeping the industry in good standing with landowners.


Q: How many times have you being stung?

A: Thousands ++++

Q: Are you making money from beekeeping?

A: No. we produce mostly honey and our supply is directly related to what nature gives us.

Q: OK, then do you make a living from your beekeeping?

A: Yes. We are very fortunate that we still can and thankful to God first.

Q: Don't the bees do all the work? I mean all you really need to do is take the honey, sounds like not much to do?

A: Yes they do "all" the work, and so do cattle graze by themselves and potatoes grow by themselves.

Q: Do you have competition? Are there many others?

A: Yes, there are many others. Our perspective on competition is slightly different - we don't see others as competition, but as people in a similar boat. We really DON'T care about other's operations, their business, their finances etc.


Q: How many hives do you have?

A: Rather ask me how many hives you need to make a living.

Q: How many hives do you need to make a living?

A: Well, depends on what you live for...

  1. The white picket fence life, constant overseas holidays, fancy cars, buying extra properties for the kids, the latest and best things, paying insurance on almost everything to feel somehow more secure.... you need thousands of hives! (and headache pills)

  2. A normal life, content with some rust and dust and having time for other people and yourself. You don't need thousands. You can make do with 500-1000 (this is highly area dependent, for a low production area like the Eastern Cape 500 will not make it)

Q: Why do you do it for a living?

A: It is somehow still enjoyable, suppose a mix of the following helps: Farming/producer mindset, hands/body that doesn't mind doing the things (physical labour) others shy away from, active lifestyle, work to eat principle, stubbornness in not just giving up easily, being your own boss but still reliant on what nature (God) gives, the waiting (excitement) to see what the next season will throw at you (every season is different)

Lastly definitely not for the money! (dear business man that is reading this, don't bee fooled by the store prices)


Q: Will you give it up?

A: Doing beekeeping for a living is a massive time and effort investment and at some point you have invested too much of this to simply just give it up, you end up just adjusting yourself to it.

Q: As an owner, is it easy to sell a large beekeeping operation?

A: No, REAL buyers are VERY scarce!

*If you have a really good general question that should be on this list, email that through... 

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